WASHINGTON — The growth of electricity demand has slowed in each decade since the 1950s — from a 9.8 percent annual rate of growth in the 1950s to only 0.7 percent per year in the first decade of the 21st century — and will continue its slow growth due to energy efficiency, according to the latest market trends report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In EIA’s reference case projection for the next three decades, electricity demand growth remains relatively slow, as increasing demand for electricity services is offset by efficiency gains from new appliance standards and investments in energy efficient equipment. In the projection from 2011 to 2040, total electricity demand grows by 28 percent (a slight uptick of 0.9 percent per year), from 3,839 billion kWh in 2011 to 4,930 billion kWh in 2040.

Electricity demand can vary with different assumptions about economic growth, electricity prices, and advances in energy efficient technologies. In the high economic growth case, demand grows by 42 percent from 2011 to 2040, compared with 18 percent in the low economic growth case and only 7 percent in the best available technology case. Average electricity prices (in 2011 dollars) increase by 5 percent from 2011 to 2040 in the low economic growth case and 13 percent in the high economic growth case, to 10.4 and 11.2 cents per kWh, respectively, in 2040.

Publication date: 4/22/2013